Dallas County district attorney Susan Hawk's life fell apart after she took office: divorce, depression and thoughts of suicide. After she fired some of her most experienced staff and amid allegations of erratic or unstable behavior, she vanished from public view in late July. Nine weeks later, she re-emerged to announce that she had undergone two months of treatment at a mental health facility for Major Depressive Disorder. She says she’s ready once again to serve. Is she up to the job? (Some links in this post discuss suicide / suicidal ideation. Some readers may find linked content disturbing.) [more inside]
"It’s absurd to be forced to make an argument in 2014 about why a country needs to invest in long term basic science" [more inside]
Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
A new Report on the State of Health + Urbanism (pdf) from MIT looks at the relationship between urban planning and public health, with some surprising findings. The cities covered are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. [more inside]
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
More than half the population of small, rural Madras, Oregon (population: ~6059) and its surrounding community is served by one clinic: Madras Medical. At the beginning of 2006, the clinic's doctors and nurses decided to ban pharmaceutical reps from visiting their practice. No more free lunches. No more free drug samples. No more gifts. And yet.... "It's made us better doctors." (Via) [more inside]
Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People (pdf, 574 kb) - "By 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population will be elderly (that is, 65 or older), up from 12 percent in 2000 and 8 percent in 1950. The number of people age 85 or older will grow the fastest over the next few decades, constituting 4 percent of the population by 2050, or 10 times its share in 1950. That growth in the elderly population will bring a corresponding surge in the number of elderly people with functional and cognitive limitations."
Does carrying a gun protect you from physical harm? Research by epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that carrying a gun makes one 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault, than someone not possessing a gun. Resisting increases one's odds of suffering harm even greater. [more inside]
Massachusetts is about to pass a "nearly" universal health care plan. It's an ambitious and innovative piece of public policy that mixes tax incentives to insure yourself if you can afford it to direct government subsidies to health care insurers to help cover the poor. Businesses will be fined if they are not going to cover their workers. It still does not cover escalating costs or malpractice wildness. And, it still will leave 5% uncovered. Nor, is it the plan specifically endorsed by Physicians for a National Health Plan (who favor a single payer system) or the AMA (who favor much greater reform of insurance providers). Still, it's a start from making us "the only industrialized nation in the world" to not, well you know.....
Convict Heart Transplant A 31 year old 2 time felon just got a heart transplant, costing tax payers close to $1 million dollars. With an annual additional cost of $15,000. Right? Wrong? I'm not so sure.